SEASON 3: EPISODE 04
TO DELIGHT IN THE INHUMAN WORD: Part Eighteen
Daley watched and listened as Jasis prepared to kill Masters. As Jasis raised the blade high Daley was suddenly overcome by a sense of purpose. She pulled her arms apart and strained as hard as she could against her restrains. She was rewarded by the sound of a metallic snap and her arms came around in front of her for the first time in hours. Daley felt the chains around her ankles loosen and she stood out of her restrains, free.
The noise got Jasis’ attention and she turned with a look of surprise to see Daley free. Jasis responded quickly, flinging the knife towards her. The blade struck Daley in the shoulder as she dodged to the side. She lost her balance and ended up on the floor next to the coffee table. Daley looked up to see Jasis was reaching for her disruptor. Daley quickly got to her knees, put her hands under the table and stood. The table went flying at Jasis who just managed to get her disruptor up and fire. The table exploded, showering the room with splinters.
By the time Jasis had recovered all she could see was Daley bearing down on her. Daley crashed into the Vorta sending them both into the wall. Daley rebounded off the wall and Jasis and stumbled back. Daley regained her balance several steps from Jasis. She saw a leg from the table on the ground and bent down to pick it up to use it as a weapon. She turned back to Jasis and prepared to knock the Vorta unconscious.
As Daley took her first step towards Jasis and Jasis dipped her head and a blue glowing light appeared in front of the Vorta’s chest and shot out. The blue orb of energy struck Daley and she staggered. This seemed to surprise Jasis and the Vorta launched another of the strange blasts. Daley’s muscles and nerves ached and burned as she dropped to her knees. Daley’s head was spinning as she tried to clear her mind from the assault. Her lungs burned and she had the taste of blood in her mouth.
“I’ve never seen a human stand their ground to one of our telekinetic blasts before,” said Jasis. “Two was only just enough to bring you to your knees. However unbelievable given how you look now, I’d wager that one more would end your life. I would prefer to draw this out but I will enjoy this none the less.”
Daley struggled to lift her head and look up at Jasis. As her eyes focused she saw a third blue light starting to form before Jasis. A look of satisfaction appeared on the murderous Vorta’s face as she prepared to kill her.
Then there was a fast moving flash. The look on Jasis’ face suddenly changed and the blue light quickly dissipated as she looked down to the smoking hole in her gut. She looked up and past Daley.
Daley struggled but managed to get her head around and saw Masters on the ground holding a disruptor pistol. She could not help but smile.
Masters carefully watched Jasis as she stood in a state of shock. Jasis had lost her disruptor when Daley had crash tackled her. Masters had to struggle to get to it due to his injuries but his determination that both he and Daley were going to survive this encounter pushed him through the pain that racked his body. He had not messed with its settings and it had been powerful enough to shatter a wooden table. It had ripped Jasis’s stomach apart with ease and Masters had no doubt that a few of her organs would be now useless gooey putty.
Masters was about to fire the pistol again when Jasis collapsed to the ground. Masters painfully pushed himself to his knees and stood. He kept the disruptor trained on Jasis and limped over to her.
“I guess that’s two to me and none to you,” he said.
Jasis’ breathing was laboured and her face seemed more ashen then usual. Her eyes looked up at him; they were full of pain, shock and anger.
He turned back to Daley and saw her pointing behind him. He spun around bringing his disruptor up but all he saw was a large grey blur bearing down on him.
Corhan’ital stood guard outside the ship’s captain’s quarters. He did not know what to make of this mission so far. He knew it was not his place to question the orders of the Vorta, they commanded at the will of the Founders; however he did not understand why the Vorta was after this particular human. Captain Masters did not seem to possess much in the way of critical intelligence. Whatever the reason Corhan’ital knew that his place was to follow the orders of the Vorta whatever he understood them or not.
“Kava,” came a voice over his personal communication system.
Corhan’ital tensed up. Kava was a codeword used by the Jem’Hadar, named after a type of nut that was popular with the Vorta. It was a signal that a Jem’Hadar’s position had been or was about to be overrun and that the Jem’Hadar were going to be captured or killed. The signal had to have come from the bridge. That was the only place on the ship with the Jem’Hadar holding a position. If their position had been compromised that likely meant that he was the only Jem’Hadar left alive or uncaptured.
Corhan’ital activated his communicator.
“Engineering, report,” he ordered.
If the bridge was under attack it also made sense that the engineering rooms would be also under attack or at least the next target. If it was the latter he would be able to give them some forewarning. He waited but there was no reply.
“Engineering, report your status,” Corhan’ital repeated.
Again all he got was silence. There was no reason for silence apart from that there were no longer any Nausicaans to respond to him. He went to tap his communicator to contact the Vorta with this information when he heard the distinctive discharge of a Jem’Hadar pistol.
Corhan’ital recalled the Vorta’s orders about disturbing her but he had a feeling that something had gone wrong. He spun and quickly unlocked and opened the door. He saw the Vorta on the ground with the Starfleet captain standing over her. The human woman had also somehow freed herself and was struggling to stand using the couch to help prop her up. The human woman looked up and immediately spotted him.
“Jonathan!” she called out pointing towards him.
Corhan’ital charged the Starfleet captain his shoulder impacted the man’s ribs under his arm as he turned to bring his disruptor to bear on him. He hit the human hard enough to send the human flying across the room.
Corhan’ital steadied his advance and turned back to the Vorta. He dropped to one knee over the Vorta. Her abdomen was a gory mess, the result of a disruptor blast. Her eyes were wide and a look of pain was across her face.
“The bridge has fallen. I believe we are the last,” he stated.
The Vorta tried to mouth a command but she was unable to. She slowly tilted her head to look down. Her armed reached across her body. Corhan’ital did not understand what she was doing. He then noticed she was trying to reach a bracelet that she wore. He reached down and fiddled with it until he exposed a hidden button. He looked up to the Vorta and saw her slowly and painfully nod. Corhan’ital pressed the button and everything around him disappeared.
Masters got to his feet. He swept the room but there were no other threats. He looked over to Daley who was struggled to get to her feet. They had to move, he did not know how many other Jem’Hadar were around but once the Jem’Hadar and Vorta got to wherever they had beamed to they would notify the rest and they would be on their way to his quarters to get recapture him and Daley.
“Are you okay?” he asked as he helped Daley onto the couch.
“I think I’m cooking from the inside out,” Daley laboured. “I didn’t know they could do that!”
“It doesn’t seem to be all that common. I’ve only read of one other account of them using this ability before,” Masters quickly explained. “Can you stand?”
“I couldn’t even get onto this couch without your help,” she muttered.
“I’ll carry you,” he offered.
“Have you had a look at yourself? There is no way you can carry me anywhere.” The ship suddenly shook. “What now?” Daley moaned.
Masters glanced out of the window and saw a phaser blast lance into view. A Centaur class vessel cruised past and fired on the ship again.
“Looks like they transported back to their ship and it’s attacking us now,” Masters commentated.
“Do something about it,” Daley grumbled.
There was not much he could do from his quarters. The fact the other ship was attacking them was a positive sign; it had to mean that the ship was back under their control. Masters made his way to his desk and tapped into the internal communications system. He let out a relieved sigh to see it was back online.
“Masters to...anyone!” he called.
“Good to hear from you, captain,” boomed the voice of Colonel Tiki. “I was afraid you might no longer be onboard. What’s your status?”
“I’ll live. I’m in my quarters with Major Daley; she could do to see a medic.”
“How bad is she? We’ve got some serious injuries and only one doctor up and patching at the moment.”
Masters looked to Daley. She still appeared to be in a great deal of pain but she waved off the need for immediate medical attention.
“She thinks that she can wait. What’s your status?”
“We have retaken the bridge and both engineering rooms,” said Tiki with a hint of pride in his voice.
“Can you do something about that ship firing on us?”
“Not at the moment. The Jem’Hadar locked us out of weapons and engine control. We just managed to partially unlock access to the shields; unfortunately we can only get 15% of maximum shield strength. Dyson and Stark are working on getting full control and I’ve sent someone to find and revive Celcho as well as some of the medical staff.”
The ship shook and Masters bumped up against the couch. He nearly doubled over in pain. His body hurt like hell and while Daley was the more injured she was not by too much.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“We’re on the bridge, which your Klingon buddies did the hard yards on.”
Masters was shocked by that news; he had thought they were dead. It seemed he was wrong and they had helped the marines retake the bridge.
The ship shook again from weapons fire.
“How long can the shields hold?” Masters asked.
“Not long. I got Dyson focusing on weapons. Thanks to the damage we’ve done we won’t be able to outrun the Centaur if we get back engine control. I think we’re going to need a miracle to get out of this, sir.”
Masters thought about how cruel it was that they had reclaimed the ship and all nearly died but that it was not going to be enough. He frowned deeply and replied, “Then we better start praying of one, colonel.”
“Captain, I’m detecting something on sensors. Weapon’s fire,” reported Eboda.
“Source?” asked Werfel.
“It’s from Federation weapons. I’m detecting two weak signals vessels, no transponders.”
“What’s the odds?” Zhou asked Werfel.
“Low,” replied Werfel. “Set a course. Bring the ship to red alert. Ready shield and weapons. If this is the Swiftfire and the mysterious attacker we want to disable both vessels in case the crew have been split between the two ships. Send word to the 121st and the SAS to prepare for action.”
Werfel nervously lent forward in his seat and willed his ship to go faster. He was sure this had to be their quarry and if they were attacking each other that had to mean the crew of the Swiftfire were taken back their ship or had gained control of the other vessel. Whatever the case the sooner they got there the sooner the Fury could shape the engagement and save the crew of the Swiftfire.
Benton had been sleeping when the alarm sounded, it had half woke her. The order for her to get to her fighter fully woke her. She was in her flight suit and out the door of her temporary quarters faster than any other scramble in her life. She sprinted to the nearby shuttlebay.
Once there she found it was a hive of activity. Personnel were rushing around, pilots to their craft, support staff making final checks and clearing the way for the clean launch of the fighters. She looked around for the other members of her flight and spotted the indomitable Caitian form of Per’ja standing nearby. She jogged over to him.
“Have you seen the others?” Benton asked.
“I have not,” Per’ja replied, his voice was soothingly calm in this scene of organised chaos.
She continued to look around for the other two members of her flight. As she did she spotted a group of beings clad in an unfamiliar black uniform. The chest, arms and legs seemed to be plated revealing it to be some type of combat armour. She spotted Captain Winters as he dealt out orders to his troops. He noticed her and waved a salute to her, one that she returned. The SAS soldiers then piled into the sleek Warhammer class runabout.
“We’re here,” said Vitorri. She turned to see both him and Utloral had joined them. “Have they found the Swiftfire?”
That was the same question currently on her mind. “I don’t know. Whatever it is the ship is on red alert and we’re going to do our part. If it is the Swiftfire are you all ready to take any action that might be required?”
Benton looked at each of them in term. Per’ja nodded stoically his resolve. Vitorri gave her a look of grim determination and a sharp nod. Utloral’s jaw was set as she gave Benton a much slower nod. Benton knew that she could trust them to do their job, she just hoped that they did not have to cross the line that played on their minds. None of them wanted to have the blood of the crew they had served with for the past year to be on their hands.
“Good,” Benton stated. There was little else that she could say. They were professionals and they each knew their duties. “Let’s get strapped in. Happy hunting.”
The Fury dropped out of warp and Werfel immediately ordered the ships to be put on the viewscreen. On the screen appeared an Akira that was under attack by a Centaur class vessel.
“We have a confirmation on external markings, the Akira is the Swiftfire-A,” reported Zhou.
“Good, looks like we’re in the right neighbourhood. Any more on the Centaur?” Werfel asked.
“No, no transponder or external markings,” reported Eboda. “The Swiftfire’s shields are barely holding. Her engines and weapons are offline. The Swiftfire is missing a nacelle and has structural damage to the starboard nacelle pylon. It is also missing its rear weapon pod.”
“I’d wager the crew did that damage, to get the ship out of warp,” said Werfel. “The Centaur’s the most immediate threat. Designate it as the primary target. If the Swiftfire looks like it is going to run switch to make it the primary target. I’m not going to chase her half way around this quadrant,” ordered Werfel.
Werfel waited for a confirmation of his orders.
“Open a channel to both ships. To the USS Swiftfire and unidentified Centaur, this is Captain Werfel of the USS Fury. You are both ordered to power down your vessels and surrender. You will be boarded. Any other action will be considered hostile and I will open up with all I have.”
They waited for a reply, none came. Werfel had hoped that the presence of his ship might have been enough to get both ships to surrender but he never expected that it would be that easy.
“Neither ship is acknowledging our hail,” said the operations manager.
“That’s our reply,” Werfel stated with a frown. “Launch the fighters, tell them to target the Centaur. Helm, take us to the Swiftfire.”
Benton’s flight was the last of the Golden Hearts to launch from the Fury; thankfully they were the first squadron launched. Once they were clear of the Fury her sensors showed exactly what she wanted. It was the Swiftfire and the Centaur.
“Listen up Golden Hearts, primary target is to disable the unidentified Centaur. Do not fire on the Swiftfire unless it fires on you or it tries to escape. If it does we are to attempt to disable it first. Remember we have guests flying with us from the Swiftfire; I don’t want anyone to be needlessly killing their friends or our Starfleet comrades. Clear?” There was a pause as the squadron leader waited for any questions of his orders. “Good. Break into flights and let’s get this on.”
Benton separated from the squadron with her fellow Overcome members as they screamed towards the Centaur.
“The Fire’s missing her rear pod,” pointed out Vitorri. “Damn! And her port nacelle!”
Benton checked her sensors and they concurred with Vitorri.
“Damage to the starboard pylon as well,” pointed out Utloral. “Looks like that nacelle is barely connected to the ship. It wasn’t like that when they started running. What do you think, sabotage?”
“The crew wouldn’t just go quietly,” Benton replied. “That Centaur is trying to crack her open so I’m thinking that they might have the upper hand or have the ship back under their control. But until we get some sort of confirmation consider the ship hostile,” she warned. “Now, let’s give that Centaur one for the crew of the Swiftfire.”